Credit Card Processing: What Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know

If you have a small business, you know how much work it takes to keep your company competitive in today’s evolving marketplace. Any steps you can take to give your company the edge are well worth the time and effort needed to implement them. One of the simplest and most effective steps you can take today is to begin accepting credit cards at your business.


As more and more consumers have turned to credit cards to make most or even all of their spending decisions, businesses that decide not to accept cards find themselves increasingly passed over, both by new and even existing customers. You can ensure your business remains competitive by opening a merchant account that will allow you to accept payments via credit card for the goods and services your company offers.


Merchant accounts today are more flexible than ever, with lower fees and a simpler application process. As a result, there’s little reason for a business – no matter what size – not to open an account and begin taking the steps necessary to accept credit cards. The following tips will help ensure you select the account provider that’s right for you, and will help ensure you get the most value for your merchant account dollar.


Experience with Credit Card Processing


Make sure the merchant account provider you select has a wealth of experience in serving businesses and their credit card processing needs. Especially in recent years, more and more companies have emerged, offering credit card processing services. To make sure you get the most value for your dollar, choose an account provider that has an established reputation for providing excellent service.


Experience with Small Businesses


Select an account provider that has experience dealing with small businesses, as well as with the type of business you operate. The needs of small businesses, as well as specific types of businesses, can vary dramatically. To keep business running smoothly, you want to be sure your merchant account provider understands your unique needs. Choose one with experience in small business account management, as well as one that has experience in helping business owners like you.


Variety of Services


Select a merchant account provider that offers a wide range of services to accommodate the needs of your business as it grows over time. Even though you may be content with operating your business out of a retail establishment today, in the future you may want to expand to the worldwide web, or begin accepting sales on the road. For these reasons, choose a provider that offers a range of services that can accommodate your business’ shifting needs. When you’re in the process of expanding or altering your business model, the last thing you want to do is worry about opening a new merchant account.


Variety of Credit Cards


Choose a provider that accepts a variety of cards. Many consumers have more than one card, but most have at least one card from the four major card issuers: VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. To reach the most customers, choose a merchant account provider that can allow you to accept credit card transactions from all of these major card issuers.


Customer Support


Check both customer and technical support when selecting the merchant account provider to satisfy your business needs. Especially in the initial days, weeks, and even months of your account service, you want to be sure you have ample access to customer service that is courteous and effective. Email and call the companies you’re considering to gauge their manner and effectiveness in answering your questions.


Technical service can be even more crucial. If an error occurs that keeps your business from accepting credit card payments, you can lose both profits and customers, and your reputation can suffer as a result. Look for a credit card processor that offers liberal technical assistance, including toll-free access to technical representatives and help desk support. Be sure the merchant account provider has extended hours, as well. Some merchant account providers even offer live chat services to accommodate the needs of their customers.


With a little homework your business can begin reaping the benefits of credit card processing, attracting new customers, pleasing current customers, and growing that all-important bottom line.